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For the Holidays: Wine with Lamb

Wine with LambWhile countless home cooks and chefs have already discovered the wonderful versatility, and pure, mild, delicious flavor of American lamb, there's another reason to enjoy lamb. According to wine expert Karen MacNeil, author of the best selling book The Wine Bible (Workman Publishing), American lamb is the perfect all around meat for wine.

"American lamb is the quintessential accompaniment for a wide variety of wines from around the world – reds, whites, and roses," says MacNeil. "A glass of great wine brings out lamb's succulent, mild, meaty flavor and makes it even more irresistible."

The History of Lamb and Wine

The practice of pairing lamb and wine is actually quite historic. In fact, European traditions can provide inspiration for the modern matching of American lamb and wine.

"Throughout Europe, the affinity between lamb and wine is centuries old," explains MacNeil. The reasons she says are two-fold. "First, with availability from the easternmost islands of Greece to the westernmost coasts of France, Spain and Portugal, lamb has historically been the most popular meat in the Mediterranean, the birthplace of wine. Consuming lamb and wine together was considered so utterly natural it was almost instinctive" MacNeil states. "Grazing sheep and planting vineyards continue to be a European way of life. That's why so many of Europe's most famous wines are served alongside American lamb in the United States."

Flavor has also played an important role. American lamb's remarkable flavor and succulent texture has traditionally lent itself to hundreds of different culinary interpretations and thousands of dishes based on numerous cuisines. According to MacNeil, American Lamb is well suited to an enormous range of wines from French Bordeaux to Spanish Rioja to Italian Chianti.

"There is something especially satisfying about the dynamic interaction between the rich flavors of lamb and wine," says MacNeil. "A bite of lamb makes you want to take a sip of wine and a sip of wine makes you want to take a bite of lamb. It's the perfect see saw."

Is There a "Best Wine" for Lamb?

Yes. The one you are planning to drink. "As someone who cooks with American lamb all the time and who tastes about 3000 wines a year, I can attest to the fact that lamb goes with a surprising number of wine styles and varieties of wine," says MacNeil. The exact wine she chooses depends on the cut of the lamb and how it's prepared.

For example, with American Lamb stews and slow braised dishes such as shanks, MacNeil loves a saturated rich Shiraz. With a seared American rack of lamb, she chooses a well structured Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. White wines and roses are great partners too. When MacNeil incorporates lamb into salads, she loves to serve Sauvignon Blanc. And in summer with grilled lamb and vegetable kabobs, she'll serve a well chilled dry rose.

"Matching wine and food is about creativity and commonsense," she says. "People who pair wine and food together don't have a set of rules as much as they have good instincts," says MacNeil. "It's more of an art than science. It's also a matter of paying attention to the principles that emerge when drinking different kinds of wines with a given dish."

Source...
The American Lamb Board


More about lamb and wine around the Web:


Wine pairing advice for roast leg of lamb - Join the fray at the Chowhound forum to discover visitors' suggestions for top picks.

Wine with...Leg of Lamb - Good overview of what to choose and what to avoid, with top favorites that include tasting notes and suggested retail prices.

Two wines with lamb - Reviews of a Crozes-Hermigage and a Portuguese rose.

 

also see -> Wine with Turkey | Zinfandel & Barbecue

 

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